GETTYSBURG, Pa. – The fifth-ranked Amherst College women's lacrosse team's impressive 2014 season came to an end Saturday as the Jeffs fell short against second-ranked Salisbury in NCAA Division III Semifinal action at Clark Field on the campus of Gettysburg College.
Amherst finishes the year with a 19-3 overall mark, while setting a program record in wins as well as reaching the Final Four for the sixth appearance all-time and first since 2004. The 2014 campaign marked the team's 11th NCAA Championship appearance in program history, as they improved to 22-10. Salisbury, the reigning national champion, returns to the finals for the third straight year and will face Trinity, also for the third consecutive season.
An even contest for most of the game, the Sea Gulls used a 4-0 scoring run from the 12:09 mark to 3:35 of the second half to pull away. Salisbury held a 16-14 shot advantage and 17-12 edge in ground balls. The game was even in draw controls (7) and saves (3), while Amherst went 13-for-16 on clear attempts and Salisbury finished 15-for-16.
Krista Zsitvay '14 led the Jeffs with two goals and was stellar during the Jeffs postseason run. The senior scored at least two goals in each of the team's four NCAA Championship games and finished with 10 total, including a four-goal contest against TCNJ in the Elite Eight. Junior Meghan Mills and sophomore Rachel Passarelli added one goal each while Alex Philie '14, Priscilla Tyler '15 and Mia Haughton '16 each finished with one assist. Philie led the team with four ground balls and won two draw controls, along with classmate Caroline Holliday, and Heath Cockrell '15 caused two turnovers.
Salisbury was led by Kate Haker '15 and Shelby Nemecek '15 with three and two goals, respectively. Haker also dished out two assists, while Shannon Carta '14 added two as well. Bethany Baer '15 led the team with four draw controls.
It didn't take long for Salisbury to get on the board as Carta put the Sea Gulls on top early with an unassisted marker at the 28:07 mark. However, the Jeffs retaliated shortly after when Zsitvay evened the score by notching her 44th goal of the year.
Roughly nine minutes later, Salisbury regained the lead when Baer received a pass from Haker at 16:39. Following the goal, both defenses held strong for 11 minutes of scoreless action until Zsitvay tacked on her second of the game. Haughton dished it to the All-American in front of the net as the senior snuck it past Salisbury's All-American goalkeeper, Ashton Wheatley '14.
The Sea Gulls netted one last goal before the half when Nemecek scored her team-high 66th marker of the season off an assist by Carta as the second-ranked team in the country held a 3-2 lead at the break.
It was a defensive battle once again in the early minutes of the second half. After roughly nine minutes without a score, Salisbury increased its lead to two when Haker recorded an unassisted marker. The scored remained 4-2 until 13:53 when Mills cut the deficit to one. The junior caught a high pass from Tyler and fired it into the bottom of the net.
Salisbury scored less than two minutes later on Nemecek's second of the game, off another assist by Carta. The goal sparked a 4-0 run as the Sea Gulls pulled away, holding an 8-3 lead with 3:35 to go before Passarelli scored the Jeffs' fourth of the game on an assist by Philie, but Salisbury held on for the four-goal win.